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South Africa Plans To Secretly Move Rhinos To Safety

As part of a plan that sounds almost like a movie plot, 500 white rhinos will be evacuated from South Africa's Kruger National Park and secretly taken to new homes to protect them from poachers.

Although international trade in rhino horns has been illegal since 1977, demand remains high in some Asian countries, the BBC reports, where it is used both in traditional medicine and as a symbol of wealth. The Ministry for the Environment made the decision in an effort to stop the illegal hunting.

At the current rate, the species — 80% of which live in South Africa — is threatened with extinction. The latest bulletin from SANParks says poaching has hit the Kruger rhino population hard. The 2013 census showed that the park — which is roughly the same size as Wales or Israel — has between 8,400 and 9,600 white rhinos and around 2,000 black rhinos left.

Early leaked reports from the Ministry say that 250 will be sold to conservation-minded private individuals, and the other half will be moved to nature reserves, probably in neighboring Mozambique, Zambia and Botswana.

The operation will no doubt be complex because of the size of the animals. On average, a rhino weighs 2.5 tons. It will involve tracking the animals in rugged and remote bush, darting them with tranquilizers from helicopters and then moving them to safety. Moving each animal could cost up to $2,000.

File photos of black rhinos being moved — Photos: Michael Raimondo/WWF/Green Renaissance/ZUMA

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Economy

Europe's Winter Energy Crisis Has Already Begun

in the face of Russia's stranglehold over supplies, the European Commission has proposed support packages and price caps. But across Europe, fears about the cost of living are spreading – and with it, doubts about support for Ukraine.

Protesters on Thursday in the German state of Thuringia carried Russian flags and signs: 'First our country! Life must be affordable.'

Martin Schutt/dpa via ZUMA
Stefanie Bolzen, Philipp Fritz, Virginia Kirst, Martina Meister, Mandoline Rutkowski, Stefan Schocher, Claus, Christian Malzahn and Nikolaus Doll

-Analysis-

In her State of the Union address on September 14, European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen, issued an urgent appeal for solidarity between EU member states in tackling the energy crisis, and towards Ukraine. Von der Leyen need only look out her window to see that tensions are growing in capital cities across Europe due to the sharp rise in energy prices.

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In the Czech Republic, people are already taking to the streets, while opposition politicians elsewhere are looking to score points — and some countries' support for Ukraine may start to buckle.

With winter approaching, Europe is facing a true test of both its mettle, and imagination.

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